Hey, golden globes: thanks FOR nothing. In a year with no clear front-runner for the Best Picture Oscar, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association prize usually a reliable Academy bellwether kept the race unpredictably murky by spreading out the major awards to The Aviator (which won best drama and best actor in a drama for Leonardo DiCaprio), Sideways (best comedy and best screenplay), and Million Dollar Baby (best director for Clint Eastwood and best actress in a drama for Hilary Swank).
Given that all of last year's big Oscar winners took home a Globe first, does that mean Jan. 16 was basically a dress rehearsal for the winners? For two of them, quite possibly. With Imelda Staunton's loss, and Annette Bening's win for best actress in a comedy for Being Julia, this year's leading actress race is truly shaping up to be a rematch of 2000's contest, when Swank beat Bening. After picking up her Globe, Swank seemed to be suffering from Front-runner's Guilt. ''I watched Imelda Staunton in Vera Drake and she gave a mind-blowingly inspiring performance,'' she told EW backstage. ''It's hard because you get up there and you're excited, but I don't want anyone to ever go home feeling like they lost something.''
There were no regrets to be found in best actor in a musical or comedy Jamie Foxx, the night's most popular winner and still the favorite to take home a Best Actor Oscar. ''Everybody's feeling Ray. From the hood to the White House, people have been patting me on the back, saying 'Good luck,''' declared Foxx, undaunted by the thought of having to follow up his award-winning role. ''When Michael Jordan scored 55 points in the Garden, he didn't cancel his trip to L.A. to play the Clippers. You got that?''
DiCaprio, meanwhile, focused on The Aviator's three victories rather than on director Martin Scorsese's loss to Eastwood. ''I'm very relieved,'' he told EW. ''To be a part of a movie that doesn't get made very often, an epic character study, and to have it succeed is great for the business.'' Miramax's Harvey Weinstein, who didn't go up on stage when The Aviator won (he's an exec producer, not a producer), was uncharacteristically detached. Asked at the studio's after-party if he'd expected The Aviator to take the big prize, he said: ''I'm just a civilian here tonight.'' Miramax's other main candidate, Finding Neverland, was the evening's big shutout, going 0 for 5, cementing its Best Picture underdog status.
As always, the night's collision of stars from the worlds of TV and film made for interpersonal interactions ranging from sweet (''I just met Dustin Hoffman I can leave now,'' Zach Braff beamed) to fawning (''I am a Desperate Housewife,'' Nicollette Sheridan said to Foxx. ''You are so talented and so handsome and so damn funny and you deserve it all!'') to Homer Simpson-esque (''You're awesome!'' gushed David Hasselhoff to The Phantom of the Opera's Emmy Rossum).
On the TV side, it was, refreshingly, all about newer shows, with major awards going to Desperate Housewives (best TV comedy and best actress in a comedy for Teri Hatcher), Nip/Tuck (best TV drama), and Arrested Development (best actor in a comedy for Jason Bateman). ''We're hoping that with all of the awards, people will be curious to see what the fuss is about,'' said Bateman, whose continually low-rated series also won an Emmy last September. ''Our strategy is to handcuff [Fox president] Gail Berman with trophies.'' Deadwood star Ian McShane, who was rewarded with best actor in a drama, attended the ceremony for the first time in 25 years. ''That was in the days of drugs on the table,'' he said, adding that he hasn't had a drink in 17 years. ''I'm very happy with the Evian water.''